Gun Sense Vermont is a successful, grassroots organization started by Vermonters, run by Vermonters, and focused on closing the gaps in Vermont’s gun laws that make it too easy for guns to fall into the wrong hands.
We are gun owners and non-gun owners. We are doctors and teachers. We are hunters and veterans. We are civic leaders and religious leaders. Our members come from over 160 different Vermont towns and every voting district.
We are supporters of the Vermont and U.S. constitutions and are united in our call for common sense action that protects the rights of individuals as well as those of our communities.
Guns do not have to be a polarizing issue. So much common ground exists, and we are determined to help the voices for moderation be heard.
GunSenseVT is led by a board of Vermonters and Executive Director Clai Lasher-Sommers.
The GunSenseVT Education Fund (a 501c3 organization) is run by a separate board, led by Dr. Paul Manganiello MD, MPH, the Medical Director of the Good Neighbor Health Clinic in White River Junction.
Grassroots Voices Are Changing the Conversation
For decades lawmakers in the Vermont Statehouse were unable to seriously broach the topic of guns, and our state was left with some of the weakest gun laws in the country. However, in just two years, this grassroots movement has been able to start the conversation about guns in the Statehouse, and the effects are significant.
In January 2015, Gun Sense VT delivered:
- 1,400 letters from constituents to their senators
- 12,000 petition signatures calling for action, all from Vermonters
In February 2015, Vermont witnessed for the first time:
- Two Senate committees seriously considering gun-related issues
- Gun-owning groups announce plan to lead a Vermont version of the suicide-prevention NH Gun Shop Project.
In March 2015, the VT Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to send a bill to the full Senate making it a state-level violation for felons to be in possession of guns, and to require court records of individuals adjudicated as a danger to themselves or other be submitted to the National Instant Background Check System.
In May 2015, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed S.141, a bill to prevent gun violence, into law.
In 2017, our coalition for Universal Background Checks is even stronger. We're proud to be working with the following organizations:
- Vermont Network Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
- National Association of Social Workers – Vermont Chapter
- Amnesty International’s Northeast Chapter (pictured on right: GunSenseVT President Ann Braden speaking on a panel about Gun Violence Prevention at Amnesty International Annual Northeast conference)
- Voices for Vermont’s Children
- Kidsafe Collaborative
- Peace and Justice Center
- Islamic Society of Vermont
- Vermont Association for Public Health
- Vermont Medical Society
- American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter
- Vermont Academy of Family Physicians
We hope you'll add your voice to this movement and get involved!